March 14, 2010

Ice Cream 1.0

Today was a very frustrating day until about 10 minutes ago.

I assembled my ice cream maker yesterday and began the process of making David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream. I stopped at Penzey's Spices on University last week and picked up some vanilla beans from Madagascar, which got steeped in milk and custardized last night. Today, after celebrating Pi Day with Calli, Ann, Tim, and Julie, Calli and I churned the ice cream mixture for ~40 minutes. Then I opened the canister.

Nothing had changed. At all.

At that point, I assumed I had done something wrong with the maker. However, what else was there to do besides keep churning? Luckily enough, the machine came with an electric motor. I plugged it in and started making dinner (I was able to have more immediate success with spinach/sausage stuffed pasta shells).

Anyway, after at least another hour of motorized churning, I opened the ice cream canister and it was still very much a liquid. The troubleshooting section of the manual suggested to take the canister and place it in the freezer, so I did. At this point, I was fairly upset. I don't like to fail more than anybody else does, and I was so excited to try homemade vanilla ice cream. I think that why I dawdled so long in unpacking/assembling/trying the ice cream maker is probably one of two reasons:
1. I do have a long, frustrating trend of procrastination.
2. I knew that there was a fair chance of having things not go smoothly. One thing that I still have to fight in cooking is the fear of failing, even when failure isn't the end of the world.

The lesson here is that when I took the ice cream canister out after dinner, the mixture had more or less frozen into recognizable ice cream, and it was fantastic. Fantastic. I know that vanilla can be seen as a bland flavor, sort of a blank slate...but this had such a pronounced flavor of vanilla, with all of its complexities, that it would have been criminal to drizzle hot fudge over the scoops.

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